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A lot of people have asked me why their Pilea peperomioides, or Chinese Money Plant, isn’t producing any pups or babies. Or in cases where there are some pups on their plant, they are just simply not growing. I’ve been growing these plants for years, and I’d love to share with you my top 10 tips on how to encourage Pilea babies on your plant!
There are quite a number of factors to consider together, as plant care isn’t just about getting one aspect right. It’s about many factors that work together to produce a thriving plant. If you truly want to get down to the bottom of it, please take the time to read all 10 tips to get the best benefit! Now let’s talk PIiea babies!
ENCOURAGING PILEA PUPS TO GROW
If your conditions are good and your plant is old enough, there is no good reason why your plant should not have plenty of babies growing. Let’s get into some specifics.
1. ALLOW YOUR PLANT TO MATURE
If you’ve just purchased a small plant, you’re going to have to allow a bit of time before your plant becomes mature enough to produce pups. To give you some persepctive, when I purchased my first Pilea a few years ago, this is what it looked like.
My plant started to produce babies before I’ve had it for a full year. Take a look at the exact same plant about 3.5 years later.
For this particular plant, I allowed it to grow without harvesting any pups at all since I wanted a big specimen. I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out!
If you’ve had your plant for a year, and it still hasn’t produced any pups (or maybe you have some pups but they don’t seem to be growing), keep reading. This would indicate that you need to improve your conditions.
2. INCREASE LIGHT
Light is the #1 factor in plant growth, period! Plants need light to photosynthesize and produce food for themselves, so deprive them of light and you are literally starving your plant.
In my experience, this plant needs to be directly in front of a window for best growth. My own plants grow in front of an Eastern facing window where they receive morning sun. Unless you live in an area with very strong sun, this would be a very safe location for your plant.
If your plant is in a dark corner somewhere, you need to correct this immediately. I’m not recommending full sun for this plant indoors, but a handful of hours of direct sun, especially gentler morning sun, is beneficial.
Push the light limit of your plants indoors. It is better to err on the side of “too much” light than not enough light. This will go a long way in promoting a vigorous plant that produces a lot of babies.
A consistent fertilization regimen is an important part of plant care and will result in more robust and vigorous plants. I’ve seen some people brag about never fertilizing their houseplants, but it should be an important part of your routine.
A well-fertilized PIlea will be more vigorous and produce more offsets or pups for you.
My favorite fertilizer for houseplants, and the one I use for most of my indoor plants, is Dyna-Gro Grow. This is a urea-free, nutritionally complete formulation that will work wonders for your plants.
4. WATER PROPERLY
Too many people are scared to water their houseplants properly because of the fear of “overwatering.” The proper way to water a plant is to thoroughly moisten the potting mix and then allow all excess to drain away through the drainage hole. Always be sure to discard excess water.
If you feel like you’re walking a tightrope with watering and your potting mix isn’t drying out quickly enough, there are other factors to consider. Perhaps you need to increase your light. Or maybe you moved your plant into a pot that is much too big. You need to determine why it’s not drying out enough, and these are two common reasons.
If your conditions are correct, there is no reason why you can’t water thoroughly. If you’re too scared to water and don’t thoroughly moisten your potting mix, this will create dry pockets in the root system. If you do this repeatedly, many of the roots will desiccate and you will have a struggling plant.
And if you have a struggling plant, it will not have enough energy to produce offsets, and may even struggle to survive, period.
5. REPOT IT, IF IT NEEDS IT
If your plant becomes super pot-bound, its growth will start to slow down, and it may even come to a complete halt. The babies may seem like they’re frozen in time and will just sit there and not budge.
At the time of writing this post, I know that both of my plants need a bigger pot. The main indications are that they both have a lot of hard, matted roots on the surface and they are drying out much more quickly than they used to.
This is an indication that they need more room to grow. Growth should start to take off once you up-pot to a bigger pot (don’t go too big though…one pot size bigger is sufficient, otherwise your potting mix will take too long to dry out).
6. BE CONSISTENT IN CARE
Once you’ve figured out a location that provides good light for your plant and you’re attentive to watering and fertilizing, consistency in care is extremely important.
These are not plants that tolerate much neglect and they will quickly go downhill. If you can be consistent in care, you will have a strong, vigorous plant that will produce many babies for you.
7. BEHEAD YOUR PILEA
Although this sounds a little extreme, I promise you it won’t harm your plant and it will actually encourage any pups to grow. Plus, you can propagate your Pilea at the same time! Be sure not to miss my blog post on 3 ways to propagate Pilea peperomioides.
If you have a leggy plant that has a tall single stem, and you see some babies at the base, you can chop off your stem and place it in water to root like in the photo below. By doing this, the plant can now focus its energy on growing the pups.
Note that if you do this, is it likely that your plant will grow into a bushier plant, versus a taller one. Take a look at the photo below.
In the plant on the left, I chopped off the main stem and it resulted in the pups filling out into a bushy plant. Versus the one on the right, where I cut nothing off, the central stem continues to grow taller.
8. PROPAGATE EXISITING PUPS
This may not seem to make sense at first, but if you separate some pups and pot them up, it will free up some energy for your plant to continue growing and put out even more pups.
Be sure not to miss my Pilea propagation blog post with more details.
9. PUT YOUR PLANT OUTSIDE DURING WARM MONTHS
This is a tip that no one talks about. Placing your plant outdoors when the weather is warm enough can supercharge the growth of your plant and set it into high gear. Indoors conditions just pale in comparison with what Mother Nature provides outdoors.
Take a look at how big and healthy the leaves are on this plant when I placed it outdoors one summer, and it also exploded with babies!
A word of caution though when you place your plants outside. Make sure that you acclimate your plant to higher light properly otherwise your plant will burn.
When you bring your plant back indoors before it gets too cold, be sure to also take measures to prevent bringing pests back indoors with you.
10. MAINTAIN GOOD PLANT HYGIENE
Removing any yellowed, brown or dead leaves will allow the plant to focus its energy on the rest of the plant, including producing and growing more pups. This is probably the most minor of the 10 items I listed, but is important nonetheless.
That about wraps up the post! If you follow even a handful of these tips, it will go a long way in encouraging Pilea pups to grow. Lastly, be sure not to miss my Pilea peperomioides care blog post.
It is a comprehensive care post where I’ve also included all the common problems that people have with this plant. You’ll be sure to find the answer to all your questions, as well are the best guidance on how to care for your Chinese Money Plant.
Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:
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